First Nations Health Directors Association


The Tripartite First Nations Health Plan calls for “An association of health directors and other health professionals will create and implement a comprehensive capacity development plan for the management and delivery of community-based services and support First Nations and their mandated health organizations in training, program development and knowledge transfer.”

— From the Tripartite First Nations Health Plan

Watch the Introduction and Orientation video from FNHDA, featuring information on a ‘day in the life’ of a health director and how health directors improve their community’s health and wellness.

Our Vision

Culturally and spiritually strong, vibrant, competent, healthy First Nations Health Directors who are experienced, professionally trained leaders with traditional knowledge that advocate for and work to sustain community wellness.

FNHDA and the First Nations Health Council also share a vision of “Healthy, self-determining and vibrant BC First Nations children, families and communities.”

Our Mission

A strong, professional First Nations Health Directors Association that:

  • Supports the development of First Nations Health Directors, their mandated health organizations and others to build competence and excellence in traditional First Nations wellness;
  • Establishes and maintains partnerships to improve First Nations health and wellness for individuals and communities;
  • Advocates for change beneficial for First Nations communities.

Establishment of the FNHDA

The First Nations Health Directors Association (FNHDA) was registered as a legal entity in April 2010, although the idea of such an association was borne many years prior. The registration of the FNHDA accomplished a long-held dream of many First Nations Health Directors in British Columbia (BC). Health Directors have for many years managed and overseen a  range of services and programs for their communities – based in diverse  health facilities, with programs largely funded by Health Canada – First  Nations and Inuit Health (FNIH).

First Nations Health Governance Framework

The advent of the Tripartite First Nations Health Plan (2007) presented a favourable opportunity to establish the FNHDA to work alongside the First Nations Health Council (FNHC), and the Federal and Provincial governments in a new tripartite relationship.

The FNHDA is a pillar in the new First Nations health governance arrangement and acts as technical advisor to its partners, the federal and provincial governments (including the regional health authorities), the FNHC and the new First Nations Health Authority (once it is established). Through their unique vantage point as managers responsible for delivering front-line health services for First Nations community members — Health Directors see, feel and hear the health needs of community members every day of their lives. This informs their responsibility to plan, coordinate and manage services (as well as other services of other health providers) aimed at meeting those needs.


Strategic Priorities

Since its’ inception, the FNHDA’s Board of Directors has been working to develop a number of guiding documents including Terms of Reference, By-Laws and a Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan proposed five key strategic areas:

  1. Support First Nations Health Directors and mandated health organizations
  2. Provide technical input and advocacy to transform government systems
  3. Provide technical input and advocacy to government policy and legislation
  4. Work collaboratively with other First Nations Health Governance partners
  5. Operate a high functioning Association for members.
  6. The Board (made up of regional representatives from the five health authority regions in BC) has strong representation, talent and skills – coupled with a passion and commitment to faithfully advocate for the interests of their members. During the 2010-2011 year the Board also embarked on a membership drive to promote and advertise their role and encourage Health Directors and other stakeholders to formally join as members or associate members.

Find more information in the Constitution and Bylaws

Five Things You Should Know About the FNHDA

  1. We are a flexible and practical resource for our members.

As an association, we support our members in their role as First Nations Health Directors. We remain flexible and practical to help them meet the evolving health needs of their communities. We do this through training, information sharing and by facilitating collaborations.

  1. We lead with tradition and culture.

Our work embeds the ancestral teachings and spirituality of First Nations and our members acknowledge and respect the local traditions and cultures of the communities they serve. We act with courage, supported by the conviction that we can improve lives through these cultural practices.

  1. We are connected to our communities.

Through our members, we are in the community; everything we do is dedicated to improving the health and well being of community members. We are also the health and wellness voice of our communities, helping our partners understand the needs and challenges of the individuals and families with whom we work.

  1. We are a values-driven organization.

As an organization, we are inclusive, resourceful, respectful and act with integrity in everything we do. Our work is grounded in the values that are guiding the transformation of First Nations healthcare services: respect, discipline, relationships, culture, excellence and fairness.

  1. We are advisors and partners in Aboriginal healthcare.

We are partners with the First Nations Health Authority and the First Nations Health Council and we collaborate with regional health authorities, other healthcare providers and professional associations. We seek to use our experience to help improve the health care system and contribute to its transformation.